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Rocketman to be Co-Developed with Toyota?

Perhaps the most well received concept from MINI in the past ten years, the Rocketman has long been held up by MINI faithful as the proper direction for the brand to head. However bringing the car to production isn’t as easy as many had hoped. Originally thought was given to shortening the R56 or even the next generation F56 platform. However that has turned out to be not an option, either being too difficult or not feasible given costs. But that hasn’t quelled enthusiasm for the car inside MINI and company is look at another option.

Enter Toyota. Last month BMW announced a collaboration between BMW and Toyota that will give BMW future hybrid technology and Toyota BMW’s award winning four cylinder diesel engines. But rumors are that the partnership could expand even further.

According to a couple of sources (including über source Scott26) one option for the Rocketman BMW is considering and discussing with Toyota is sharing the Japanese company’s next generation small city car platform (ironically to also be shared with another BMW engine partner PSA). This would allow the Rocketman to be brought to market with considerably less cost and quicker than any other option.

The issue of course is that a small MINI should be the epicenter for the brand when it comes to classic MINI attributes. While BMW engineers are convinced that they can develop the platform to suit the MINI, it remains to be seen how much MINI DNA can be added to a platform from another automaker.

Of course the platform is only one aspect of the new car. What motivates it is another. We can’t help but wonder if there’s any chance to see a BMW/MINI engine under the bonnet given how tightly packed the car will surely be. Even if MINI’s new three cylinder would fit, cost implications of engineering it into the car could be high.

Of course there is always another option. The next generation Toyota city car platform is being built from the start to work with an electric drivetrain. With MINI having already dabbled with the MINI E electric car we’d expect this version to be a no-brainer at some point. If things move along of course.

Discussions are still ongoing but rumors suggest things could be wrapped up and decided on by the Geneva Motorshow in early March.

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Written By: Gabe

  • b-

    Now if this happens will all of the people who said that they will buy the car still want it? I guess no. A Toyota is NOT a MINI. I see a new rivalry on the horizon. Mini VS. MINI, MINI Gen1 Vs. Gen 2, MINI Gen 1 & 2 Vs. 3, All Gen MINI & Mini Vs. ToyMINI. I see this being a watered down car that is small with less MINI than even the Mini.

  • Fatherfree

    Don’t bother.

  • Wretch

    A lotus Elise wasnt a Toyota either… Don’t get bent!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000346192156 Edward Ng

      I don’t think Toyota had any input on chassis design for the Elise. And Lotus massaged the Toyota lump to get what they needed. FTA, my understanding is the majority of work has been done by Toyota and that BMW is licensing the design sans engine and probably will tweak the suspension. Time will tell. Might be like the Geo series the General did, esp the Storm and the Isuzu Impulse.

  • jrhayes

    I am excited about the news.  My first thought was the Elise also; Lotus working with Toyota just made the car more reliable, not less fun.  It will be even better if the Toyota people can teach MINI how to get rid of all the rattles.  I hope they build it.  

    • hfred

      It sounds interesting to me, too. On the other hand, my 2011 MCSm, even with sport suspension and runflats, is rattle-free so far. I think MINI already knows how to do it.

    • hfred

      It sounds interesting to me, too. On the other hand, my 2011 MCSm, even with sport suspension and runflats, is rattle-free so far. I think MINI already knows how to do it.

      • jrhayes

        I am glad to hear that.  My MINI would not stop making noise; that is the reason I finally sold it.  The sounds were making me so angry that I did not enjoy driving the car anymore.  Then, in one of the car mags, they wrote that their Countryman had already developed several rattles.  I am much more likely to buy a MINI again if it does not sounds like someone inseminated my car with a mixture of acorns, nuts, and bolts (not to mention whatever kept squeaking all of the time from the roof, dash and driver’s door).    

      • jbkONE

        a one-year old car not having rattles isn’t really surprising.  See if it’s still rattle-free at 3.

  • tec

    I like the Rocketman design, but I also want it to be cheap.

    If the Rocketman will be based on the next generation of the Toyota Aigo it will also be more cheap and more reliable  

  • tec

    I like the Rocketman design, but I also want it to be cheap.

    If the Rocketman will be based on the next generation of the Toyota Aigo it will also be more cheap and more reliable  

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      No it would be based on the Toyota IQ. The car Aston uses for their city car.

      • jrhayes

        Would it be the same dimensions and weight as the IQ?  Would it also then be sold at a slight premium over the IQ or would it be closer to the same price as the other MINIs?    

      • tec

        Are you sure ?

        The IQ is manufactured in Japan and is only 2.99 m long

        The Aygo is manufactured in Europe and is 3.42 m long 

        The Rocketman concept is also 3.42 m long

        however the next generation of the Toyota Aigo will be at least 3.50 m long

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      No it would be based on the Toyota IQ. The car Aston uses for their city car.

    • Anonymous

      You said…”I like the Rocketman design” REALLY? What part of this thing do you find attractive???? REALLY??? Gad!

      • tec

        Well I like the front face, I think it’s better then the R56.

        I like the compact size and expecially the pull-out boot.

      • Xtom71

        … and of course I like the interiors, the stearing weel and the rocket design.

  • Frank Granados

    I think the Rocketman is the right direction for MINI to follow. As a current R53 S owner, this car can potentially re-ignite my interest in the brand as a whole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Stramiello/537056067 John Stramiello

    I honestly will never own a mini again if this is true

    • hfred

      Reasoning behind this, or gut response?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Stramiello/537056067 John Stramiello

        more of a gut response after I realized Id love to own an elise which has a toyota engine in it. Although I highly doubt Id still ever want a mini with anything toyota in it. I simply hate toyota. They aren’t cars, they’re kitchen appliances.

        • George Papageo

          You read my mind! They should do kitchen appliances and forget cars! 

  • Bob Spencer

    Yike! I think I will vomit!

  • MCSDCWGP06

    My current drive is a handed down toyota, yeesh what a piece of junk. First kris meeke made part time and now a mini toyota fusion. Disappointed to say the least.

  • Chris Underwood

    Want no part of a MINI based on a Toyota.  The Elise argument doesn’t hold water – Lotus used a Toyota engine, they didn’t build the Elise on an existing Toyota platform.  Taking a boring appliance car and trying to market it as a MINI simply devalues the brand. 

  • KLF23

    Weren’t the first gen MINIs were part Rover, part Chrysler, part BMW and other bits I can’t remember, and it worked out great. I have faith that MINI could pull this off. Give it go-kart handling and Mini styling and I’d be in.

  • http://twitter.com/taiyodayo taiyo nakashima

    Seeing the LFA and FT-86, if this is the direction Toyota is heading, I have no problems with this idea! VW also makes some hideous cars within the group but that won’t dull other great cars like Porsche and Lambo.My R52 has a Chrysler lump and it doesn’t change the fact a bit, that my MINI is a cracking little car.Toyota (actually rebadged Yamaha) engined Elise is reliable, and parts are cheap to get since many are compatible with Celica. If something like this happens to a MINI I would be happy, as long as the end product is good. (ie, not like what happened to Ford Ka with FIAT platform sharing. Still good, but just not like the original Ka. )

  • George Papageo

    Toyota must be the MOST BORING car company! I hope it doesn’t harm MINI which is the exact oposite! Toyota’s cars remind me of washing machines.. they are both so exciting! 

  • goat

    Well I have felt that the Toyota iQ is closer to the original ingeniously packaged mini than ANY current or even last-generation MINI, so this makes some sense. A bit odd that BMW feels they cannot tackle such a project on their own, however. Interesting times. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephan.levesque1 Stephan Levesque

    Geez…maybe a little bit of Toyota will help out the MINI/BMW’ lack of reliability.  There are some good things that Toyota can bring to the table so don’t be so quick to bash them.  A good thing being their hybrid technology.  Toyota does have a new sports car coming out under the Scion name which they worked on with Suburu and a new Supra will follow as well. 

  • Unfined

    If Toyota is involved, they will lose me as a customer.


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